Representatives from all four main Welsh political parties will join the first ever Mardi Gras Parade on September 1st 2012. The colourful and inspiring spectacle will highlight LGBT rights in Wales on as the parade moves off from the assembly point on Dumballs Road at 11.30am on September 1st through St Mary Street and High Street, prior to arriving at Cooper’s Field in time for the main Mardi Gras event.
Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Equality added: “I’m delighted to see the Mardi Gras returning to Cardiff again this year. Cardiff Mardi Gras is a great example of how we can bring people together to eliminate discrimination, something the Welsh Government is always keen to support. This year will see the first Mardi Gras Parade through the city centre which will be a highlight of the weekend. I’m sure the 2012 Mardi Gras will be another big success for Cardiff.”
Conservative AM Nick Ramsay will be one of the politicians joining the parade through Cardiff City centre, he said, “I am looking forward to joining thousands of people from all walks of life to celebrate this great display of diversity and unity taking place in our capital city. Over the years the festival has built up a great reputation and not only does it provide a great opportunity to celebrate the wide and varied society that exists in Wales but it also helps to raise awareness of equality issues. Year on year the Mardi Gras has grown and I am sure the addition of the march from the city centre to Coopers Field will attract many more people to this vivid and colourful event. As a Welsh Conservative I will continue to stand up for the rights and freedoms of the individual. Conservatives both here in Cardiff and Westminster are working hard to advocate the message that bullying and discrimination on the basis of sexuality have no place in 21st Britain.”
Plaid Cymru has once again given its support to Cardiff Wales Mardi Gras. This year, Plaid Pride – the party’s LGBT affiliate group – is looking forward to marching in Wales’ first ever LGBT pride parade
Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru, said: “Since I’ve become leader, I’ve made it priority for our party that we campaign visibly and vocally on issues that are important to all the communities of Wales. With the present-day repression of LGBT pride parades abroad, we know just how critical marching has been for the progression of equal rights for LGBT people across the world. Here in Wales, thanks to the activism of previous generations of gay activists who refused to hide who they were, we can celebrate today all those rights that have been secured in such a short period of time. But while we may see a political consensus in favour of LGBT equality in Cardiff Bay, homophobic and trans-phobic abuse and violence is nowhere near over in Wales. Last year, in the South Wales police force area, reported trans- and homophobic hate crime increased by 62%.* And we see the lingering homophobia and gender discrimination, especially bullying in our schools. Mardi Gras is a day for celebration and a day to party. But it’s also about standing up and challenging hate speech whatever its origin, and about refusing to let intolerance take hold in Welsh political and civic life. I’m proud to give my Party’s full support to this year’s festival, and I wish all the best to our marchers.”
Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said that their involvement in the first Wales Mardi Gras Parade was of significant inportance: “Mardi Gras is a fantastic event, but of course there is also a serious message that the Mardi Gras carries with it. It is a sad fact that, even in this day and age, members of the LGBT community are more likely to face discrimination. This state of affairs really can’t be allowed to continue. The Mardi Gras does great work at creating equality through promoting visibility of the diverse communities in which we all live. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have fought for years for fairer rights and equality for the LGBT community, which is why we are supporting the Coalition Government’s plans to introduce same-sex marriage. We believe that that to deny one group of people the same opportunities offered to another is not only discrimination, but is not fair. Love is the same, straight or gay, so the civil institution should be the same too.”